Thursday, December 29, 2011

Another year over

G'day all!

And I've been doing lots!

This has been a pretty incredible year.  Not necessarily the happiest year ever but all sorts of things have happened.

We have seen lots of stuff - going to NYC and back to San Jose was pretty darned  good.  We've made some good friends.  We've lived comfortably in Australia's largest city.

And the New Year will ring in changes.

On New Year's Day, I'm driving back up to Sydney to supervise the packing of our gear and its removal to the States.  Plus I'm taking some extra bits.  On the 4th, I am going to the airport and getting on a plane for Hawaii (meeting up with DH at Sydney airport), where we will spend a couple of days.  Then we get on the plane to Seattle and a new life.

I'm going to miss family and friends and Australia and the long days and summer.  I am a long days person.  DH isn't "validating my feelings" about this, which causes arguments.  I am sure things will be fab in Seattle, I am just not good with rain and cold and short days.  I don't deal with temps under about 15C with any sort of grace - I get cold, like finger-numb-and-stiff and nose-numb-and-dripping.  Even if I dress warmly I get cold.  I am after all Australian born and bred.  Melbourne gets cold in winter, but Californian-type cold, not temps that you find in a fridge or a freezer.  When it is damp it feels even colder.

This just means I'll have to knit Even More Mittens and hats (and line them with polar fleece to make them warmer).  And there will be new things to see and explore, and if they carry the nice bread I found in Wholefoods in NYC and Campbell I'll be happy (cos they will also have the amazing range of GF and DF "icecream"... what, I shouldn't eat icecream if I am cold? 8-).  I'll take along a good supply of chocolate cos sometimes WF doesn't carry the one that is edible - GF and DF chocolate is surprisingly hard to come by.  Most of them have traces of both gluten and dairy, and some dark chocolate outright contains dairy (the horror!).

So if I do not blog over the next few days, you know that I am getting ready to leave (again), and that you have my felicitations for a most fabulous New Year.  Make it a good one!


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Long time between drinks

G'day all!

We are now down in Melbourne for Christmas.  My little old bomb (car) made it down without a hitch.  900km/560 miles over two days, in part because we left in the afternoon, too late to make it in one day and in part because I hate driving that far in one day, particularly with only one driver.

We have visaed.  (That isn't a word, btw.)  It only took about an hour and a bit, most of which was waiting in a queue.  I managed to read about four pages of my book in that time.  You can't take knitting into the consulate.  At least they provide magazines these days.  The first time we went there, we didn't take books, there were no magazines and the tv was showing the screen saver for the DVD player it was hooked up to.  And we were there for over three hours.  OMG, nearly died of boredom.

We were told we should expect the visas next week.  Hooray!

So Seattle, yes Seattle for all those who guessed correctly, is GO GO GO!

And we will be living in Seattle, not Redmond.  Nathan has not joined The Evil Empire, though I really now think Microsoft is not The Evil Empire any more.  No, a different company is that.  One Nathan hasn't worked for.

I have one more day of work before knocking off for Christmas.  I have to go through the attic here and figure out what I want to take with me to Seattle, what is staying behind, how much I can really take with me - I will be driving back to Sydney with Nathan's bike and some boxes of stuff as all our stuff is leaving from Sydney.  I have to be back there on the 3rd of January, and will probably go up on New Year's Day just to give me plenty of time (aka a day) to get organised.  But I'll have to hire a car most likely because the car I was going to use has decided to have a little rest, and is spending Christmas in a shopping centre carpark with a dud immobiliser or a dud wire.

Hmm, now that I've ignored the blog for a couple of days, I can say I've finished work for the year (I have to go pick up the laptop after it gets more RAM), and the visas with passports arrived yesterday!  Hooray!

I have managed to do very little this Saturday arvo, except drive to and from the inlaw's place a few times (argh!  I didn't have a key for the house!), read through some old stories I wrote years ago that I found in the attic (alas, I wrote up more of them on my old old laptop but it got stolen and I hadn't backed up the stories, so I only have the handwritten parts.  I know one was somewhat more extensive than what I have written down!), and burn the gluten and dairy-free shortbread bikkies (thank heavens they didn't all fit on the tray, so I have about 12 left.  I hope I don't decide to water the garden or anything this time around!).  I even avoided the golden orb weaver spider who had cunningly placed her web across the best access to the nectarines, which are just coming into ripeness.  Alas, about 70% of the nectarines are affected by rot, even though it hasn't been dewy or wet recently.  I presume they need to be sprayed to stop them going rotten.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, or a nice break depending on your religion or lots and lots of moulah for working on Christmas Day, and may no nightmarish santa claws haunt your dreams!



Sunday, December 11, 2011

Grey day

G'day all!

At last I can make an announcement.  Hooray!  This has been weighing on me for a while.

Today DH resigned from his job.  Yep.  We are blowing the big G off and going off to a new and exciting location.

Sydney's weather, grey and a bit cool, is preparing us for what awaits.

We are going to a place renowned for its rainy, foggy, cool weather.  Am not looking forward to that part.  It is a couple of states up the coast from where we lived for a couple of years.

Any guesses yet?

In the meantime, we have had an extra exciting weekend.  But blogger just ate my great long ranting post - it completely lost 90% of it and I am now peeved with it and do not want to play with blogger any more today.  Plus it made me log in again.  Humph.  I think that deserves a flounce.  It even gave me a 404 page not found error.

There is so much to do, so many places to see before I leave Sydney next weekend.  Sigh.  We are going back to Melbourne for Christmas and to get new visas (there's another clue).  I have to get the results of blood tests to see if the Big C is staying in remission but I can't find anyone who knows if they have been received.  I guess it is time for more phone calls.


Brisvegas re-entry

G'day all! Whoops, forgot to post this before the PiLs arrived, and I've hardly been online all weekend.

I am very glad to be home from Brisvegas, though not glad to be home for reasons I cannot reveal until Monday (AFAIK, I am fine, DH is coping, but in the next month there will be some big changes!).

So how are you all?

I am rather stressed, for reasons that will be revealed soon.  I have so much to do.  Tonight the PiLs are coming to visit, which means moving furniture again and cleaning the place.  Did I mention that I've been away for a week?  And have Even More Stuff to put away?

Ah well, it will all be good in the end.

So the conference was good, very good.  I learned a fair bit, not the least of which was that even without much sleep, I can still put on my own little show and pretend to be a bouncy outgoing type, until I run out of food at least.  I had a lovely time at one of the dinners (the dinner where they offered me more than two party pies, a manky sausage roll, and eventually found a plate of prawns and smoked doods, that is not dinner, especially when lunch was lentils and rice and there was something like 7 hours in between meals.  I graze my way through my day, normally).  I seem to have a knack of ending up talking to the overseas visitors.  One chap had lived in Seattle for 28 years, and another lives in San Jose about 3-4 miles from where we used to live if that.  Another lives near Toronto, which I have visited.  Another lives in Sheffield, UK, and likes both Monty Python and Pratchett.  My boss picked on me because apparently I had two of the visitors eating out of my hand pretty much, but it was noisy at the dinner and they both turned out to have hearing issues (they had hearing aids).   I danced like a crazy thing, though I nearly passed out because I cannot do what is effectively high impact aerobics, sing and breathe all at the same time.  Like what is wrong with me?   Really.  Oh and they had a smoke machine too, just to add to my breathing issues.   I stood at our booth and talked to people for hours.  I extraverted, or at least pretended to be an extravert, for quite a number of days.  It's only taken me how long to learn how to wear that hat?

There is a reason why I want to crawl into my hidey hole and pull a lid over it and pretend that I don't have a number of deadlines hanging over me....

I was vastly entertained by the opening speaker of the conference, Amanda Gore.  She is like me crossed with my boss, extraverted and on speed.  The lady's stage show would imply she is mad as a cut snake, though I have the feeling she isn't. Anyone who can get a pack of dour occupational hygienists all standing up, arm in arm, singing "Always look on the bright side of life" has to be pretty darned cunning I reckon.  (Although the lady next to me walked out.  She couldn't take it any more.  Someone else sat down next to me and we had a brilliant time - me and him and the other lady next to me....)  Now not all occupational hygienists are dour, as you might realise.  My boss isn't and most of the Bright Young Things amongst them aren't either.  Some of the older ones really know how to get their groove on too.  Amanda gave us a lot to remember and be grateful for.

Must post this little one before getting onto the Big News.


Monday, December 05, 2011

Ah, sunny Brisvegas

G'day all!

Ah sunny Brisvegas....

Apparently the weather is craptastic all the way down the eastern seaboard.  Someone did not even bother checking the weather forecast and is mighty she brought one long sleeved cardie with heer, cos it is a mite chilly at the moment...  Brisbane is tropical, for those not in the know and I expected it to be warm...

Mental note for anyone interested, the supermarkets close with the shops on the weekend...that means don't leave it until six pm to go get some stuff.

Conference has been good so far. Talked to lots of people, sat through two awesome talks and two average ones, scared a few people, attracted others (to the work stall which I am manning for a couple of days).

I'd talk more about the two speakers I really enjoyed but I am writing this on the phone.  However, I will say I am a walking joy spot and will be happy to show you my gratitude glasses, and that CT scans are apparently quite good for you. A little exposure to radiation has a protective effect against cancer.

Who knew?


Friday, December 02, 2011

Oh for the life of a jet setter

Gday all!

I am off to Brisvegas. 


For a conference, not for a holiday.  Not so hooray.  I'll be manning the stand for work, along with a coworker.

I expect to be knackered by next Thursday.

At least there have been no major dramas so far. Here's hoping it stays that way.

Woot, boarding is about to commence.

Gee, thanks optus for not letting me connect!

Now coming at you live from brisvegas


Thursday, November 24, 2011

I hate my left foot

G'day all!

Actually, I lie.  I only apparently hate my left foot.  I really very much like my left foot.  It is very handy to walk on a foot.  (Two feet are even better as long as they are shared equally between my two legs.)  My left foot is more shapely than my right foot.  It is even more shapely at the moment, after I viciously brutalised it on the locking wheel of the chiro couch yesterday and then whanged two toes on the edge of the shower today after tangling in the shower curtain (why yes, I am talented!).  It is also prettier colours than my right foot.

But I can walk and run on it so the damage is fairly cosmetic I think.  I hope.  I wonder if I will damage it a third time later today or tomorrow?

I have been crafting!  Will miracles ever cease?

When the going gets tough, the tough get knitting.  I had been avoiding knitting cos I thought it was making my lymphoedema worse.  Well if I am wearing my compressive sleeve, yes it does.  But if I don't wear the sleeve?    Also the puffy hand I've had trouble with is slowly de-puffing and is much happier if I don't wear the sleeve.

So, I have knitted a top out of yarn I bought in California and knitted two fronts and a little bit of the back of a new cardigan.  I'm too stupid to have taken pics yet and the weather is lousy.  At least it seems to have stopped raining now - it's rained almost non-stop since Monday afternoon (it is Thursday afternoon here) and I'm getting a little over it.  I do have a little sneak peek of the cardie though:
(picot edge, backing done in left over sock yarn!)

Knitting is relatively easy to get pics of in the wild, unlike quilt tops....

The tough also start cutting into favourite quilt material and making quilt tops.  I've made three tops in the last four weeks or so.  One quilt top is rather lurid but I think will be liked by a small girl who is into rainbow colours and brights (not me!  I am a big girl!)

and the other quilt top is a little more tasteful:

Do you like the sneak peaks and their artful perspective shots?  Alas the only times I have had a chance to get pics have been on windy days.  If it is still, it has been raining recently.  Summer in Sydney is like that (though it hasn't been very summery these last couple of days - it's been cold and wet).  Sydney is subtropical, almost, and gets scads of rain in summer but also gets cool changes with rain from the south.  It gets the worst of both worlds - summer humidity and all year round cool changes.

We had the cops at our block of flats on Sunday night.  I think it was Sunday.  I didn't notice at all.  I was sound asleep as someone's ex came by and made a helluva ruckus, banging on doors, yelling, etc.  I stayed sound asleep as the cops showed up and I remained sound asleep as he was dragged away.  I think I deserve a medal for being a champion sleeper.

Dangnabbit, I just broke the second last of my favourite plates, exactly the same way as the third last of my favourite plates, by putting it on the cooktop and not realising I had turned on the element under the plate rather than the element I wanted to turn on.  I hate electric stoves.  At least gas warns me when I do something stupid....


Monday, November 14, 2011


G'day all!

Sydney has pulled out a stinker today - 38C!  No wonder I am feeling a little hot under the collar, even though I am not wearing a collar....

I've been a bit quiet recently.  I've got a lot on my plate currently - travel last week, a whole of of disruption coming up that I cannot yet talk about.  Keeping secrets is so blah, at least this sort of secret.  Of course it might not happen either, so it makes it even More Mysterious!

(There's a few hundred of my "close personal friends" there.  The way people put themselves into other peoples' pictures indicated an intimacy unknown to the photographer.)

On the weekend, we went to Bondi to see Sculpture by the Sea.  We and about 5,000 other people.  I think I under-exaggerate.   There were people EVERYWHERE.


We saw some really nice sculptures and some that I rather wondered the point of.  I appear not to be into avant garde sculpture.  And some were "affordable" if you like that sort of thing and think $5,500  and upwards into the hundreds of thousands of dollars is "affordable."

But I am still editing the pics.  There are many many many pics, and that is only from the lot I took on my little point and shoot.  Nathan took hundreds on the dSLR, all HDR.   I'll get some more pics on Flickr soon.  I have a little preview on my Google + account.   I am putting little bits and pieces on that when I want to link to something quickly.

(that is a lot of green - green = algae = lots of yummies in the water.)

Bondi beach still whiffs at the end where it goes into the cliffs - it might be a stormwater drain empties there.    Apparently the sewage outfall got moved further out to sea, making your chances of meeting a Bondi cigar lower.   Bondi has long had a reputation for floaters and sinkers.  I could never work out which is worse - the horror you can see floating?  Or the one lurking on the sea floor, waiting to be squished between unsuspecting toes?

(Can you blame that bloke for standing on his surfboard?  He doesn't want to touch the water.  He knows what lurks just under the surface....)

(Ah, the forecast cool change has swept through.  Hooray!  It was only about 5 hours late.  And we had one of The Best Sunsets Evah tonight but I was at the swimming pool and did not have a camera.... sigh.  Egads, I am getting to know more about my neighbours than I'd like too.  Everyone's windows are open and some folks are getting quite umm close if you get my drift....)


Bondi is a fave place for tourists to hang out.  It does have a lot of places selling food, drink/grog, surfwear and bathers.  Like LOTs of bathers (togs, swimwear, cossies, bathing costumes, swimming trunks (men), etc).  Did we buy some more bathers?  Umm, that would be a yes....

The beach itself does look pretty.  It is also a good spot to go perv at some nice bods.  It isn't really my place - I refuse to try to suntan and umm, well the old bod looks best in a 50s number these days.  Something with lots of structure and not eensy weensy strings.



Wednesday, November 09, 2011

A black and terrible storm

Gday all!

I was hoping to fly out to Sydney this evening but well I think the attached pic tells a story...

All flights delayed and the storm is about an hour wide... dangit!


Friday, November 04, 2011

Hooray for a domestic

G'day all!

We are in sunny melbourne and within ten minutes of ferrying off the plane had a domestic.

I very clearly said I was intending to go to the loo, which I did.  Nathan headed that way too, only to the men's.

He disappeared.  I waited for the luggage, cos I wasn't leaving that behind and I thought he was in the loo still.

I could see there was a bus about to leave and I now had the luggage, but still no nathan.  I was waiting inside.  I hear my name, and nathan is outside. He had been buying tickets for the bus. I already had tickets for the bus.

We missed the bus. We had a domestic.

He expected me to just know that he was buying tickets.  Cos I am psychic, doncha know.

I thought he was still in the loo. After all we do have those sorts of days once in a while.

So now he is all huffy and stalked off because I'm not a mind reader. Yes he was doing a good thing but if he had said I'll go get tickets, if he had communicated with me, we wouldn't have a rather public row. And we'd be at the railway station by now.

And sniffle, my scissors were in my handbag and now I've lost them cos security took them away, and they were the best little scissors I ever had.


Thursday, November 03, 2011

Hooray, another year older

G'day all!

Hmm, maybe I should have given this blog entry the title "Boo, hiss, another year older..."


I am currently very much in two minds about this whole birthday thing.

a) I am very grateful to have managed to reach another birthday.  Five years ago I assumed that I would reach 80-something.  After the fun of the last couple of years, I'm grateful for every birthday I hit in apparently good health.


b) another birthday means I am getting older.  And I already feel like a wrinkly old bag some days, especially next to the lovely young things* that Nathan has as workmates.    Now people say they are not wrinkles, they are experience lines, so oh boy I must be rapidly gaining experience in this game of life!  And I can tell what expressions mainly cross over my face from the patterns that are worn in.  And I'm not fishing for compliments either, cos when people tell me I am beautiful, I know they are fibbing or extrapolating the truth somewhat.  Now if they said I am not bad for an old chook, I would get huffy and say I'm better than not bad and I'm not *that* old, but I know where I sit in the beauty stakes.  And that is fairly and squarely in attractive enough, not pretty nor beautiful nor gorgeous, and for that matter, not plain nor fugly.

(*I like to tease the LYTs - I like to tease people it turns out - but then I think about it and at their age would I have thought it was pretty freaky to have a married old bat teasing me?  Oh you bet your bottom dollar I would!  When I was 19 I though the 23yo who hung out with us was old!  So I can't imagine how old these 25yo kids think I am!  If any of you are one of those kids reading this, sorry, hope I'm not upsetting you!  Though the chiro was extremely flattering yesterday, bless his cotton socks.  He is also a kid.  And I called his flattery.  Anyway, I can't imagine what I'll be like if I manage to get to 80 or 90... I'll be outrageous!)


Speaking of beauty stakes, I haven't shown off my hair.  I think I will have to go bottle blonde.  Am sick of having dark blonde hair with red lights in it.  I got some blocks of hair bleached out last week and then had magenta dyed into it.  The magenta is pretty but I really liked the bleached look.  It made my face look so much lighter and brighter.  Apparently I am meant to be bright, light blonde.  Who knew?


We went for a lovely walk in Ku-Ring-Gai Chase national park on the weekend and the pics are from there.  We did the same walk as the whoopsy one we did last time, only in reverse and deliberately, with food and water this time, as well as a stop over at the kiosk in Apple Tree Bay.  My goodness, those 1.5 cans of lemon lime Solo went down a treat!


Alas one of the chaps with us was on call and even though most of the calls are not important, wouldn'cha know it, this time around it was something important.  And even though he had one or two bars on his phone, there was no internet.  Poor thing had to run all the way up the big long hill, only to find crap reception up there too!  It only got better when we got on the train, which you would think would kill connectivity (being a big faraday cage and all).


There is one critter I wish I'd gotten a picture of.  I kid you not, we saw a turtle!  A sea turtle.  It was not very big - not full grown but probably about 40cm across the shell.  It was swimming around in the inlet  (photo above, but not of turtle!) but by the time I'd gotten the lens cap off the camera, etc, it had dived and didn't come up again in my sight.  But I did get pics of a lyrebird:

and a goanna/monitor:

and a skink and bugs of different types.

Birthday party up here is tomorrow.  Then we're off to Melbourne for the weekend, a family thing on Saturday and a party at a friend's place, and then Sunday is either my family or off to a not-really ren fair.  Monday is filming for the training scenario I am working on, then more filming for other stuff on Tuesday and Wednesday, then I fly home (to Sydney).  It is confusing having two homes.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Another anniversary

G'day all!

It is a year today yesterday since I finished treatment for cancer.  A year since I last walked in for my zapping by a flesh-searing relativistic particle cannon (thanks, xkcd for the best ever comic!).


I remember being a little sad in a way - I was living by myself in Melbourne, I was seeing my workmates two days a week, and I was lonely and bored.  At least I saw people regularly when I was being zapped!


I also remember waiting for the weariness I had been promised to kick in.  Hello!  I am supposed to feel exhausted now!  Where's my exhaustion?  I was tired if I didn't get my sleep each night, but I'm always tired if I don't sleep enough.  I think that is fairly normal.  It's just I needed an extra hour or two.

But I didn't.  I felt better and better every day, though the "sunburn" got worse for the next week or so.  The chemo had knocked me around so much that the radiotherapy was a walk in the park in comparison.

(Hmm, this blog post took a lot longer to write than I hoped, like a whole day, because Chromium has some issues on linux....)


Anyway, it is a year and I'm grateful to still be here.  I've been reading the Occupy Wall Street Tumblr "blog" and I am really quite horrified.  I am one of the 99% but as an Australian in Australia (and I believe it would stand if I lived in New Zealand too), I get free healthcare.  Because my income is above a certain level, I have what Americans would call a co-pay on seeing a GP (primary care physician) but all of my chemotherapy, my operation and my radiotherapy cost me nothing.  Nil.  Nada.  Not a cent.  The anti-nausea medication and lotions I used cost me, but even the Neulasta and 2 X Emend tablets only cost $30 a pop and when I went on the dole (did I mention we have a welfare safety net too?), they only cost $6.40 for each script.  Each Neulasta shot cost my government somewhere around three thousand dollars.  Emend isn't that expensive but it is not a cheap anti-nausea drug.  If I was an American, I'd probably be dying right now.  (I may be anyway but I hope not!)  DH's job had just ended when I was diagnosed and we could not have afforded Cobra (extension of the work private health insurance after work stops paying for it) and we certainly could not have afforded to pay cash for my treatment.


So hooray for Australia, for taking care of its people.  I'm quite happy to say being on the dole sucks big biscuits - it only brings home a bit over $400 a fortnight and is a lot of work (unless you are signed off work like I was), but from what I read, a lot of Americans working full time don't bring home much more than that anyway.  Which also shocks me.  And here we get free healthcare when we earn so little. (People will argue that it isn't very good because they can wait two years for a knee operation or to get a filling done but that is better than never ever getting that work done or having to line up at a fairground and get treated in a horse stall surely?)

(Whoops, I just realised that pic is not straight...well I still like it)

OK, off the political pony now.

Next week it is my birthday.  And right about now would've been my parent's 60th wedding anniversary.  I remember their silver wedding anniversary and the bowl that the lodge gave them.  It was such a different world then.


Now that it is almost the next weekend, I have to say what a lovely weekend I had last week.  Nathan decided that I should have an early birthday celebration because some friends are going to be away for my birthday.  Even though he was under significant work pressure, he found a recipe online for a yummy GF/DF sticky date pudding and got the ingredients and would've made it except KB wouldn't let him cook it in her kitchen.  That was sweet of him and her!  And it was yummy (though the sauce was a bit sweet and gave a helluva sugar rush).

(This flannel flower was growing in some sandstone in the back yard of the house being warmed)

Saturday we had a housewarming up in Hornsby, which was very pleasant.  Nathan and I were the only Australian born people there.  The rest were adoptees.


(Sunset from the loungeroom of the house being warmed)

Sunday DH had breakfast in Balmain with some friends and then I joined them for a walk around Ballast Point (two separate links), which is technically in Birchgrove but eh, it's all Balmain to me on that peninsula.  It set things up for a very nice day.  But we still don't get the verse on the oil tank sculpture.  (The full thing reads, "Stone statues of ancient waves, tongue like dingoes on shore .")  Today's pics are mostly from that walk.


I wonder where we will go this weekend?  And what we will see there?  Exploring the harbour is fun :-)


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dodged one bullet...

G'day all!

Well yesterday we dodged one bullet, and got hit by another.  Nathan will be off to a funeral soon - his grandpa died.  Grandpa was old and tired and had had enough.  We knew he was on his last legs, and had pondered sending Nathan off to see him but a) not enough time and b) some work issues.  Nathan will miss him even though they only talked a couple of times a year and saw each other even less often.


(Why won't I be going to the funeral?  Because it is going to cost at least $500 per person to fly there and back, and OUCH!  I should go for the family but Nathan agrees that it is $500+ we could put on the mortgage...  Driving is out of the question as it is about 1400km/870m away and my car is small and old.)

So things have actually improved here over the last few days, despite Grandpa dying.  Thank heavens.  I am surviving the antibiotics (some give me dreadful side effects that you don't need the details of but not these ones so far, yes I am eating soyghurt every couple of days) and they seem to be working.  They must be working because I am much less crabby and much more full of cope, plus I've walked hmm, 9km on Monday, 2km on Tuesday, 6km yesterday....  by tonight assuming I stay awake long enough I will probably have walked another 5 or more kilometres and gone swimming (I hope).  I woke up a little early today - DH had a restless night and by the time he got to sleep again at 5am, I was pretty much wide awake.  My knitting continues slowly - the item is all in one piece so I will only have a few ends to weave in, hooray!  I also have some ideas for a quilt, particularly given my quiltalong group is getting going again after a rather long northern summer hiatus.

(Nasturtiums are pretty to look at but I have NO IDEA how people can eat the things.  Or doesn't the latexy sap permeate the flowers?)


Monday, October 17, 2011

Oh to be joyous

G'day all!

Well things continue on their craptastic way here.  It never rains but it pours.  We are expecting some not particularly happy-making news.  Once any and all of it happens, it will probably be a relief!

(I feel a bit like the harbour seal on the left of the pic - no matter how high I hike myself up, I just keep getting inundated)

I'm underinspired and quite frankly lonely.  In the last week, I've talked to my MiL on the phone and Nathan and to my workmates and bosses on the phone (thank you MiL and bosses for helping sort some of the crazy).  That is it.  I didn't really talk to anyone on Friday night because I was knackered.  It appears I have a pelvic infection.  I'm now on antibiotics and am regaining energy.  We usually have breakfast with a couple of Nathan's workmates on the weekend but we didn't have breakfast with either of them.  (Nathan had breakfast with some people he jams with.)

(Boom, crash!  NB the seals are not sitting on the rock that wave broke over.  Man that was magic watching those big waves come in....  I could have stayed there all afternoon watching them.  I love the sea.  I live only about 12km from the sea but central Sydney lies in between it and me...)

I am feeling underwhelmed by my social life.  I've talked more to this danged character in my head than to anyone else in the last three months.  He keeps surprising me.  At least someone wants to talk to me!

OK, whining done.

I have been knitting!  Alas my arm is puffing up quite a lot at the moment, but I am hoping it will calm down again in a few days...  I am knitting continental as my usual flicking technique appears to be annoying my hand.  I am a good girl, I am using some of the yarn I bought in the USA.  I do not have a pic of the knitting yet.  I've almost done enough of it to model.  With a singlet (tank) on.  No freebie views here!  Not without dinner, flower and chocolates first...

I was a naughty girl yesterday, I bought some fabric at Scroatfight.  But it was $3/m instead of $10-16/m...  I don't have plans for it, yet...  I also saw these (scroll down a ways) on Jane Sassaman's (fabric) blog and umm, well I only bought half a metre of fabric, just to play with, from Quiltsmith.  I've never had any real interest in hexies before but umm well those just blew me away.  Oh and did I say that it's not only knitting that is an issue for me?  Anything that makes me bend my arm 90 degrees or more (handsewing, knitting) does.  And bike riding, though my arm is straight.  Dangnabbit.  This blasted cancer has stolen a whole heap of things from me, and I am cranky with it.  I don't care about the chunk out of my boob but I do care about my ability to craft and do things that make me feel happy (knit, sew, bike ride, other things that I can't think of currently), and I do care that my plans to become A Lady Of A Certain Age with the blabbermouth to go with it may have been interrupted.  (OK, they certainly will be interrupted if I get run over by a bus tomorrow... but you may be able to sympathise anyway.)  At least I will soon turn another year older.  It is a year more than I expected when I was diagnosed!

(Is there a bright light in the future?  Is it an oncoming train or just Pigeon Point lighthouse?)

Today's good things.  I went swimming.  My ring fits my finger again, and I can almost get it on the finger it was designed to sit on.  (I made the ring what 12 years ago now... until the lymphoedema diagnosis, it always stayed on my middle finger.)  We bought a new fluorescent light tube and starter for the kitchen - the old one was talking to me in some form of morse code, only I don't know morse code, or maybe it was aliens trying to communicate.  Or maybe it was just busted (it hurt to have the light strobing.  It really hurt).  I walked at least 9km.  The weather cleared up after it poured rain last night and the forecast is lovely.  And it seems that summer is on the way a) 28C later in the week and b) it is starting to get humid on warm days.  27C and a few showers on Sunday.  Ick!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What a bumpy ride

G'day all!

Well what a fun time we are having at the moment.  Re-entry from the US has been super-stressful.  DH is having work issues that I am not at liberty to discuss.  They are impacting severely on him and therefore on me.

We had a fab weekend - BiL and SiL2b came up and we hung out and did fun stuff, going for long walks in Lane Cove NP and then up in the Blue Mittens (no longer mountains, thanks SiL2b!), and I thought DH was a little sorted.  But no.  I am truly at my wit's end with him.  I don't know what to do.

Hopefully I can relay more interesting and positive stuff soon, but for the nonce,


Saturday, October 01, 2011

Returning to base

G'day all!

What a whirlwind visit it was to the States!  Nowhere near long enough to do everything I wanted - I reckon I got about half of everything done....

Our flight home was uneventful - exactly how one wants it to be.  We nearly missed getting our bags on the first plane as we were slightly later than I wanted to be getting the car back to the rental mob, who had misplaced their end of the contract and then Nathan thought he'd lost his corporate credit card... but he hadn't, he'd just put it in his pocket after they couldn't find the contract....

One excellent thing about flying American Airlines out of San Jose down to LAX is that they codeshare with Qantas, so our luggage was checked right through to Sydney.  It meant we saved a good two hours in LAX, though that meant we spent two more hours sitting around rather than stressing our way through security.

We had a lovely not-quite-guided tour of LAX as we were driven from AA's American Eagle terminal to the usual AA terminal (where we got off thinking it was the end of the line).  We had dinner there at the Chili's.  Then we trawled off in another bus to the international terminal, and did not have to go through security again.  Hooray!

The bus trips were pretty amazing.  The bus trundles along by the runway, an active runway.  There's suddenly a roar and vvvrrr-rrrrow!  A plane takes off about 50m away.  On the first trip everyone was very serious (I wasn't, I made an aeroplane passing by noise, which I now realise is based on a plane I've never heard in real life - a Spitfire - and startled some people) but the second trip, the people on that side of the bus ducked and then laughed.  Like how helpful is it it duck when the plane is about to crash into the bus?   Anyway, you get to see all sorts of planes and activities and stuff.   Whilst I am in two minds about air travel - it is hellishly expensive on fuel and greenhouse impact but is really the only way to get halfway around the world in less than a day - I am still a bit of a plane freak.  Seeing an Air NZ 777 reminded me that I've met the man who designed its rudder.  Passing by an A380 (the plane we flew home in) underlines how massive these jets are.  The thing's got about 50 wheels for starters (ok, really only 22 can be counted in my pics) and outmuscles every other kid on the block.

I ended up with a window seat on the way home and oh bliss, noone sitting next to me!  (Nathan was in premium economy.  At least he didn't tell me all about the champagne this time.)  It is sooo much easier to get comfortable if you don't have to wriggle away from someone all night - I don't really want to snuggle someone whom I don't know or worse, drool on their shoulder...  At least a snuggle doesn't leave a mark.  Our bags took forever to appear but arrived before customs did a rolling stoppage and we were out and in a taxi on our way home within ten minutes of grabbing our bags!  Quickest time ever!  (It does help that now I know that wool yarn, whilst technically being an animal product/fleece is actually not what Customs/AQIS is interested in.)

I have lots of catch up posts to do.  At the moment though, Flickr is having a massage (really!  That is what they tell me) and I can't upload pics on it and can't be stuffed uploading them on blogger, so this is a pic-less post.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

California here we've come

G'day all!

We've been in California almost a week now and I have neglected the blog in favour of catching up with a few people and umm, doing lots of shopping...  Just as well we only brought one suitcase with us cos I had to go buy another one.

You want pics?  I only have pics of NYC.  I have some from the coast here and a couple of sunset and some from a bay cruise up out of SF but you don't come to San Jose for the scenery.

We are about to take off for the weekend to visit the Sierra Nevadas, Lake Tahoe, etc.  If I am lucky, I might see some aspens in their fall colours.  I love aspens.  I've seen them naked, in first flush of leaves, in full leaf but never really in their yellow fall party dresses.

I have to run - we are picking a friend up from the station in an hour and we are by no means ready yet.


Friday, September 16, 2011

We have escaped New York

G'day all!

We have escaped New York city.  It is a most fabulous place but totally OTT.  I have pics to share but not until we have real internet.  And I had a lovely time meeting up with my crazy fiber lady friend (links later) and a Ravelry BC mate.

We have left our teensy hotel room (apparently they used to be girls' dorms from way back when) and now are lounging in comfort in a Holiday Inn.  We appear to have a king size bed with a pillowtop or maybe memory foam.


(Excuse me whilst I roll around on it, enjoying the support and softness.)

Apparently I am about 60-70, or at least my body appreciates some good old fashioned comfort.

(Our $368/night plus fees and taxes and charges bed was like a rock.  Me and rocks don't get along too well.  Also the bathroom was so small in the previous hotel that I wanged my head on the wall trying to get out from under the water jet aka the shower and you could not sit straight on the toilet - you hit your knees on the wall.  Here you'd have to be a giant to hit your knees there's so much space!)

We are now in the wilds of Pennsylvania for the PA Energy Fest.  It looks like a cross between a hippy festival and a serious renewable energy fest.  Should be interesting!

Only one more day and a bit to good internet (well I hope it is ADSL or something).  I thought I needed a cord to make the camera talk to the laptop but I believe the work laptop has an SD card reader.  Hooray!  Then I can load some pics onto flickr.  Double hooray!

Time for beddy byes.  We are still jetlagged, if you can't tell from my writing, and need a good night's sleep or two.  Alas tomorrow night will not be it - we have to be up at 4am to drive to Philadelphia to catch the plane to San Jose.

Do you know the way to San Jose, do do do do do dododododdodo?


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

New York, New York

G'day all!

Sorry, no pics yet.  Our internet allowance is minute, rather like our hotel room.  But I'm in NYC and it is very NYC.  Lots of traffic, lots of noise, lots of horns and squealing tyres (I have no idea how they manage to squeal tyres when it is bumper to bumper traffic).  Lots of people.

I have not seen too much in the way of people cutting back on spending.  There are people shopping until they drop.  Wholefoods was doing a roaring trade.  (Oh how I've missed you, Wholefoods!  Your glorious $1.99 a pound organic apples... your beautiful cheap organic produce (organic veg in Oz is expensive) ... your huge range of gluten and dairy free icecream... your gluten and dairy free frozen meals... rice chips... and today I even found some decent fresh GF and DF bread!  But our minute hotel room doesn't have a fridge or a microwave so I have to hold off until we are in San Jose.)  Then again I guess I am in one of the most expensive cities in the world, at least this end of it is.  (I'm near Central Park and not far from Times Square.)

Anyone want an I<3NY tshirt?  I can get them pretty cheap 8-)  I only passed about 20 stalls selling them in my 20 block walk.  20 blocks in NYC is not really very far - the blocks are longish but narrow, unlike Melbourne's square blocks.  Sydney has long blocks too.

Time for me to go back out into the humidity again.  It is 80-something F and quite humid.  I think I should go for a walk in Central Park.  Tomorrow I meet up with a friend, and on Friday with a raveller I've never met.  Then we are off to Pennsylvania on Friday night, and then San Jose on Sunday.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Onwards, outwards, upwards

G'day all!

Looks like the big G is having a few issues at present - I can't post under the new Blogger interface and then when I provided feedback as to why I've swapped back to the old version, the Google doc failed.  So some lucky engineer somewhere has to sort that out.

Wonder if this post will go through.


I am looking forward to visiting friends in the States.  They'll notice a few changes - I'm wrinklier and my hair is somewhat shorter and darker (though given it has not had a chance to sunbleach yet and I've done the chemo thing, it isn't that surprising).

(Rosa laevigatum has beaten all the roses to flowering)

Spring is definitely sprung here - over the last two weeks, the trees have suddenly sprouted beautiful lime green leaves.  I love spring green.  The wisteria is in flower as are the crab apples.


But I am feeling a bit flat.  My story writing has slowed down quite a bit and I feel a bit lonely.  Odd that I should miss characters that are like imaginary friends but they have run out of story for the time being.  I've still got quite a few notes to transcribe, which is nice.

I'm also feeling a bit old and shabby.  Last year I was in emergency mode and coping magnificently with things.  Emergency mode is no longer required, instead I am finding the new normal.  In finding the new normal, I'm finding that I am vain.  I did not know that having long blonde hair was how I thought about myself, though I know I was rather resistant to getting it cut off.  Or long eyelashes.  Or relatively dark eyebrows.  I've never been an amazingly pretty chickie babe, but I'm not particularly ugly either.


Now I have short, dark blonde hair with reddish lights in it.  My eyebrows have come in anywhere from invisible blonde to about 20 darker ones and somewhat thinner (of course I have plenty that are growing where I don't want them but I've lost the monobrow ones!).  And my eyelashes are piss weak, to be honest.  My face seems to have gone insipid.  And wrinkles have bloomed like flowers.  9 months without hormones will do that to one it seems.

And I miss being able to pass for a few years younger than my real age.


People tell me that character and cunning grows over the years and can make a woman more attractive than she was at say 20.  I should have plenty of character then and even more attractiveness.  I've dealt with enough, and I keep dealing with plenty of crap too.  But it doesn't mean that I don't miss some things like occasionally turning heads and being valued for something shallow like appearance.

Funny, isn't it that I am learning more about my depths but miss the shallow stuff most.  I always knew I had depths.  At least noone thinks I am a brainless blonde bimbo any more - I should look on the bright side!


And mostly I do.

BTW, it's DH and my 7th wedding anniversary today.  I would love to say seven years of wedded bliss but as in most marriages, it has its ups and downs.  I'm glad to have made it through another year :-)

(Pics of sunsets from around here - I go out every day and take pics.  It fascinates me, probably dull as dishwater to other people though)


Friday, September 09, 2011

I can haz haircut

G'day all!

I had my first proper haircut this arvo. I got rid of the duck's butt/mullet, and have a style cut.

Is skeered now.

Is looking like my mother. Except my photo is skewed again... It must be a bug in mobile blogger.

Is very skeered.

But the haircut is pretty cute.

Must work out what I am taking to the usa...  We leave on tuesday!

This extremely shallow post brought to you by poet's day.


Wednesday, September 07, 2011

She sews socks by the seashore

G'day all!

I am sure some of you have entirely forgotten I started this blog to share my knitting conquests. It has gone a little sideways from there over the last while, and I fear it will go more sideways yet.

But at last I have found the pics I took of the Tardis socks, though they are not the Best Evah shots. I embroidered on half the Tardis markings whilst sitting on a park bench at Glebe Point. tardis_socks

Do you like the view the socks (and I) had? That's the Anzac Bridge with the Sydney Harbour Bridge underneath it.  I admit that there isn't too much of the seashore there, more just a border of rocks but it is still a very pleasant place.

The finished socks do not have Police Box embroidered on them as the sock yarn was too thick.  As it was, I bollocksed up part of it trying to write police box on and had to duplicate stitch over the manky bit...  Shhh, don't tell anyone, ok?  :-)


Hmm, blogger has a new interface and I am not sure I like it as much as the old one.  Of course I've been using the old one for years and one does get set in one's ways.  It would be very nice if the editor didn't get stuck at pictures.  I might have to provide some feedback about that!

Now speaking of seashore, earlier today I went for a walk along the promenade along the harbour down the bottom of our street.  I know that we have skinks around our block of flats - I've taken pics of them before and yesterday nearly stood on one when I was walking back from the laundry.  Today I saw about 15 skinks sunning themselves on the rocks along the harbour front.  I'm guessing most of them were common garden skinks but two were rock skinks, which can grow up to 30cm long!

Here's me crawling along the edge of the harbour (ooh me back!  I've done my SI joints again and my lower back is a bit crabby), gawping at skinks.  They are almost as good as crawdads, though crawdads usually will have a go back rather than running away....  Anyway, I am the biggest kid you'll ever see.  If it's a critter of almost any sort, I'm so there!  Unless it's a leech.  Leeches squick me out.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Toddling onwards

G'day all!

Just a quickie - I am being a very bad blogger. But I have been blogging for over seven years now. My 7th blogiversary was 10 days ago, and I totally forgot all about it, like I do every year!

I have a pair of socks to show off, if I ever remember to get pics of the finished items. I finished DH's Tardis socks in time for his birthday, though I did not put the police box words on them as I need a much lighter weight thread for that - the sock yarn was too heavyweight.


We had a most excellent party at one of our favourite restaurants here (Haiphong Harbour I think it is). 24 of Nathan's closest friends up here in Sydney. I had a lovely time crapping on (aka talking to people). Nathan made various of us get up and move around the room, reshuffling the deck to get people to talk to different people. At first I started off talking to people that I know reasonably well, and then moved to other people only two of whom I had talked to before, though that turned out well too and we had a lovely discussion about how nerves work and umm how reflexes work, especially in absence of input from the brain. I can only think of one reflex that does not use skeletal muscles (hmm, I may have just thought of another...) and neither of them are ones that we talk about in polite society. I rather offended one member (ahem) of the party, though I apologised, but the other two I was talking to were amused by my delicate terminology.


For some reason along the way, I doodled a fish that turned into a rabbit shark. Be afraid, be very afraid.... Imagine a shark that can jump like a bunny and breed like one too. (Could it jump the shark? Dunno!)

I made two yummy GF and DF cakes, and I would like to say that I very much regret polishing the remains off over the next couple of days, but umm, I don't regret it at all and would keep on eating them if any was left. Not that I am greedy or anything. I may have to make another orange and almond cake as the first one was so yummy and I still have half a bag of almond meal left and it will go off doncha know 8-) Plus one friend had a dodgy gut that evening and had to go home and missed out on the cake. Plus another friend got caught up and couldn't make it to the party.

DH wanted to go to IKEA on Sunday (!!!) and we ended up managing to get one of these into the car along with a 195cm (6'5") DH and a 200cm (6'7") friend. If you saw the size of my car, you might be impressed. (It is a five door version of the Geo Metro for my US readers.) And the 2m tall guy said "Oh, there's more room than I expected." Which isn't to say it was comfortable but if it had been my previous car he would've had to have chopped his legs off to get in the back of the car....


In more interesting news, we are booked to fly to the US on the 13th of September. 13-16 in NYC. 17-18 in Pennsylvania. 19-29 in Mountain View, CA.

I'd better start emailing a few of you, yes? It will be marvellous to catch up, though I still haven't booked our internal flights around the US (not for want of trying but more because DH is stalling on that part...).


I've been taking a picture (or several hundred) of sunsets from Glebe Point over the last while. Every evening I am here in Sydney, I am taking pics if the sunset is any good. There's been a couple of doozies recently. I've been fascinated by the sun's progression along the horizon as the days lengthen.

Anyway, more another time, like pics of the socks!


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

His baby takes the evening train

G'day all!

I am on my way back to Sydney. I'm taking the train and bringing my bike with me. I decided to cough up for first class in hope that I don't get sitting next to me a pimply fifteen year old heavy smoker who has a nasty skin condition involving a lot of peeling skin which he can't leave alone... Shudder

I am glad I didn't have to move the bike and my luggage more than about half a kilometre... As it is, I'm knackered!

Oh we are off (and as I love to say, we are going as well - does off have a meaning of rotting and being stinky issue of oz and nz?).

Ps hope the pic isn't rotated but it is fairly much how I feel as present...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

White bloom

G'day all!

Some lovely spring blooms for you against a blue blue sky :)

Tests all came back clear, hooray! I am looking forward to getting back to Sydney and having a rest! I've been on the social rounds for days now and this hermit needs a break. I'm not used to seeing so many people 8)

I have three days to finish nathan's birthday socks. Pity I forgot to take them to the clinic with me, I could have had a good hour of knitting instead. 

Tomorrow evening me and my bike are off to Sydney on the train. I'm going first class :)  Percy the bike will be in a box...

And it looks like I have to book tickets to the usa too!